Whilst in Riga, we popped into the Fashion Museum. It’s quite small, and cost about 7euro each. The exhibition on when we were there was ‘The Secrets of the East. Western Fashion and China’, that’s closing on Oct 16th. There was some Chinese fashion, and Chinese themed objects such as horoscopes and hexograms (to get your fortune). But the point of the exhibition was to explore the influence of Chinese fashion on Western culture, particularly in the early 20th century.
Apparently, in the 1930’s and 40’s a lot of people left Russia and emigrated to China (don’t you always forget that Russia is near Asia?). One of them was Aleksandra Gramolina who was a fashion designer in Shanghai before moving to Riga in the 1950’s to become director of the Riga Fashion House.
There were also a few examples of fashion gone crazy; an actress with a 17.7inch waist, x-raying childrens feet to get their shoe size, and (of course) Chinese foot binding.
As an early birthday treat mum and I went to London to visit the Victoria and Albert Museum. It wasn’t my first visit, but there’s tonnes to see. We took an earlyish train but it was still lunchtime when we arrived. I opted for a rather nice goats cheese lasagne, the food there is pricey but at least it’s nice. Across the road at the Natural History Museum the cafe is pretty crap.
We thought about going to the temporary exhibition which was a history of underwear, but it costs £12 for those tickets, and we found the other fashion galleries instead. It was a through the ages look at fashion. Mum commented that the ‘modern’ pieces aren’t that impressive. I agreed but I think it was a little warped. The older clothes were clearly picked to represent common trends, while the newer ones were ones that would have stood out from the crowd. I mean there no stretch skinny jeans so it can not be said to truly represent what people are actually wearing today.
Oxford is home to lots of old stuff, and they put some of it in buildings called museums. We wandered into three such places; The Ashmoleon, Pitt Rivers Museum, and The Museum of the History of Science.
Pitt Rivers Museum
Pitt Rivers is smaller than I though it would be, basically a large hall filled with natural history. There is a huge jawbone of a whale in the doorway, as well as dinosaur skeletons, examples of rocks and minerals, and a bee hive. It was fun and freeand worth a look if you’re in Oxford.Little correction here- apparently we only visited the National History Museum and the Pitt Rivers Museum is through a little door around the back!
Pitt Rivers Museum
The Ashmolean is a lot bigger but we arrived about 30mins before closing so just rushed through. It looked like they had a large and varied collection. As well as being a museum it also houses artwork and seemed to have a lot of Oriental art and displays. The cafe looked very nice (but we didn’t eat there) as did the shop.
I don’t have any pictures from the Museum of the History of Science because whilst I was there I was largely uninspired to take any, also everything was behind glass cases which produces terrible photos. That Museum is very small (no cafe, not even toilets!) and quite disappointing. They seemed to think that quantity was important and had lots and lots of the same things in cases without much contextualizing information. There was some cool stuff like Einstein’s famous blackboard with equations and the first culture of penicillin but they were hidden away in the basement and surrounded by things that didn’t seem relevant to them. A good collection, badly organised!